The anti-Iran terrorist group of Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) has bankrolled the foundation of the Spanish far-right Vox Party and paid salaries to some of its top members, according to a report.
The leading Spanish newspaper El Pais reported on Tuesday that two lawmakers for the Vox Party received party salaries from the MEK.
“Two lawmakers for Spain’s far-right Vox, Santiago Abascal and Ivan Espinosa de los Monteros, received party salaries for eight months that drew on funds from donations by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI),” El Pais quoted sources as saying, referring to the MEK by its other name.
According to the paper, both leaders received around €65,000 in total. The MEK was on the United States’ list of terrorist organizations until 2012, a year before the group funded Spain’s ultra-nationalist party.
“Vox, which is now the third-largest force inside the Spanish parliament with 52 lawmakers, was created in 2013 with around €1 million donated by the NCRI,” the paper said.
“On December 17 of that year, the day that it was registered as a new party on the Interior Ministry’s records, Vox received its first transfer from abroad by sympathizers of the Iranian exiles. The transfer was in the amount of €1,156.22,” it said.
The report added that a month after that, then-secretary general Santiago Abascal and senior official Ivan Espinosa de los Monteros began earning salaries paid for by the opponents of the Islamic Republic.
“The money reached Vox thanks to the mediation of Alejo Vidal-Quadras, the party’s original founder and first president. Abascal’s monthly salary was fixed at net €3,570 (€5,000 before taxes), which he received between February and October 2014, for a total of €40,000.”
“Espinosa de los Monteros received a monthly net amount of €2,300 (around €3,083 before taxes), according to two former party officials. Espinosa de los Monteros, who is now the spokesperson for Vox in Congress, earned this salary during the same period of time as Abascal, but invoiced the payments through a company,” it added.
The MEK was established in the 1960s to express a mixture of Marxism and Islamism. It launched bombing campaigns against the Shah, continuing after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, against the Islamic Republic. Iran accuses the group of being responsible for 17,000 deaths.
Based in Iraq at the time, MEK members were armed by Saddam Hussein to fight against Iran during a war which lasted for 8 years.
In 2012, the U.S. State Department removed the MEK from its list of designated terrorist organizations under intense lobbying by groups associated to Saudi Arabia and other regimes opposed to Iran.
A few years ago, MEK members were relocated from their Camp Ashraf in Iraq’s Diyala Province to Camp Hurriyet (Camp Liberty), a former U.S. military base in Baghdad, and were later sent to Albania.